I found this debut fantasy novel intense and immersive. Â The world is right on that fine balance of being familiar enough that I felt grounded and yet full of enough differences in culture and appearance to be fascinating. Brad thrusts the reader directly and deeply into Khalakovo – I’m not sure I actually saw even a tiny bit of info-dump, and even by the end of the book, there remained mysteries which had been shown to me on the ï»¿pageÂ but which I didn’t entirely understand. Â Not that I felt bothered by that; this is a very satisfying novel. I’m glad that it’s the beginning of a trilogy, and that there will be more in this world.